Feeds

Attacks exploit unpatched weakness in Adobe apps

Ham-handed PDF peril from Zeus

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Criminals behind the notorious Zeus crimeware package have begun exploiting an unpatched hole in the widely used portable document format to install malware on end user computers.

The booby-trapped PDF documents arrive in emails that purport to contain a billing invoice, according to a post from M86 Security Labs. If the user opens the documents and clicks through a series of dialog boxes, PDF readers from Adobe will execute a file that makes the PC a part of a botnet (The FoxIT reader will automatically save the malicious file on the user's hard drive.)

The exploit is a ham-handed exploit of a feature included in the PDF specification that allows documents to automatically run code. That's because it requires javascript to be turned on and it doesn't alter the wording of one of the dialog boxes, as security researcher Didier Stevens showed was possible.

"This is why I would classify this attack attempt as rudimentary at best, with little to no real sophistication," Jeremy Conway, another researcher who modified Stevens' attack, wrote here. "If this was the best the malicious actors have to offer we would have nothing to worry about, but I am afraid this is only the beginning and I am sure we will see far more sophisticated attempts at exploiting the Launch action in the future."

Adobe has said it is mulling changes to its Reader and Acrobat programs to close the hole. Users in the meantime can protect themselves by turning off the automatic launch feature. To do this, go to Edit > Preferences and click on Trust Manager in the left pane. Then, uncheck the box for "Allow opening of non-PDF file attachments with external applications." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes
That's not the website you're looking for
ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora after Twitter blockade
Nothing we can do to stop them, says decentralized network
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.